West 38th Bridge to Close Monday for Major Repairs - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

West 38th Bridge to Close Monday for Major Repairs

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If you travel West 38th Street and the bridge over Interstate 79, get ready to take another route for the rest of the summer. Work is set to get underway Monday July 7, on a major rehabilitation project that will extend the life of the bridge and make it safer for drivers and pedestrians.

Recently, our reporter Paul Wagner went along with inspectors to show us why the PA Department of Transportation considers the bridge to be in poor condition.

Water has seeped in and the 50-year-old span has crumbling concrete, exposed joints and rusting steel bars peeking out. Surrounding businesses may be inconvenienced but they know the work has to be done.  Bill Koller, Penndot Bridge Inspector said, "We want to get rid of all the joints that we can, so we don't get any leakage. We saw that deterioration underneath."

Jessica Natemeier who owns a business nearby said, "I think the repair is necessary. We don't want anyone to get hurt. We've seen in bigger cities where bridges did collapse. So I'd hate to see that in Erie for us."

Crumbling sidewalks on top of the bridge that have been closed for sometime will be replaced too, along with the entire bridge deck.  The contractor on the project is BECDIR Construction Company of Berlin Center, Ohio.  The bridge work is expected to cost $808,412 with 80% paid by federal funds and 20% covered by the state.  The work should be finished by the end of August.

Penndot officials say the bridge, built in 1965, is used by about 13 thousand cars and trucks every day. Drivers who travel through the area will have to follow a posted detour over Zuck Road, Route 20 and Peach Street.  For ongoing information on the project, you can follow Penndot on Twitter at www.twitter.com/511PAErie.  

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